Oct 31, 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 ~ Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: P*TT - Three constant consonants with five progressive vowels.

18. "Evita" Tony-winning actress: PATTI LUPONE"New Argentina"(5:16) More morons at 0:40.

25. Coast Guard rank: PETTY OFFICER

37. Roberto Clemente, notably: PITTSBURGH PIRATE

48. Ceramics shaper: POTTER'S WHEEL

59. Tinker in the workshop: PUTTER ABOUT

BOO! Argyle here. A diagonal solvers puzzle, but upper right to lower left. Maine to California. Washington and Florida are isolationists with just a one square connection to the rest of the puzzle.
FLASH: Husker Gary pointed out that the first vowel of the second word is regressive, U thru A. Coincidence, I think not.


1. Capital of Poland: WARSAW

7. Actress Moore: DEMIIMDb

11. Dick and Jane's dog: SPOT

15. Tropical lizard: IGUANA

16. Large-scale: EPIC

17. Vagrant: HOBO

20. __-ran: ALSO

21. Diminutive suffix: ETTE

22. Fort full of gold: KNOX

23. Guitarist Clapton: ERIC

24. Spanish king: REY

29. Prefix with sol: AERO CAN

30. Flight height: Abbr.: ALT. (altitude)

31. Ambient music pioneer Brian: ENO

32. Rural road surface: DIRT

34. Carpal or tarsal lead-in: META. Bones of the hands or feet.

36. Prilosec target: ACID. Prilosec is made by AstraZeneca.

41. "__-daisy!": UPSY

42. Approximately: OR SO

43. Small fishing boat: DORY

44. D.C. United's org.: MLS. (Major League Soccer)

45. Sweetie pie: HON

46. Urge: PROD

52. 34-Down, in Toledo, Sp.: SRA. 34-Down. 52-Across, in Toledo, OH: MRS.

55. Naturalist John: MUIR

56. "__ Lang Syne": AULD

57. Truant GI: AWOL

58. Fatherly nickname: PAPA

62. Move a bit: STIR

63. "__, Brute?": ET TU

64. Not inclined (to): AVERSE

65. Meat safety org.: USDA. ( United States Department of Agriculture)

66. Loch with a mystery: NESS

67. Blowtorch user: WELDER


1. Windshield cleaner: WIPER but sometimes 17-Across.

2. Striped quartz: AGATE

3. Like old wagon trails: RUTTY

4. Appease, as hunger: SATE

5. Smart game-show vowel purchase for "F_LM CR_T_C": AN 'I'. It would be smarter to solve it unless the player wanted to gamble on one more spin.

6. "The Color Purple" author Alice: WALKER

7. Bus terminus: DEPOT

8. Modeling glue: EPOXY

9. 60 secs.: MIN.

10. Devils' playing surface, ironically: ICE. The New Jersey Devils are a pro ice hockey team in Newark, NJ. Ironic in the sense devils come from a very hot place. Watch out for little devils tonight!

11. Puppeteer Lewis: SHARI, with Lamb Chop, puppet.

12. Patrol vehicle: POLICE CAR. {One Adam Twelve, see the man...}

13. Target of captioning censorship: OBSCENITY

14. "That's __ bad": TOO

19. "Do __ others ... ": UNTO

23. Young salamander: EFT. Crossword and Scrabble staple.

25. Caresses, as a dog: PETS

26. Inaugural recitation: OATH

27. Envelope part: FLAP

28. Used a bike: RODE

29. Superficially cultured: ARTY

32. Embassy workers: DIPLOMATS

33. "What a harebrained idea!": "IT'S STUPID!"

35. Self-esteem: EGO

36. Retired Yankee slugger, to fans: A-ROD

37. Gas station machine: PUMP

38. Crude dude: BOOR

39. Catering coffeepots: URNS

40. Big screen star: IDOL

45. Ship's pronoun: HER

46. One-named soccer great: PELÉ

47. Change, as map details: REDRAW

49. Sparkly crown: TIARA

50. Light bulb units: WATTS

51. Many Rwandans: HUTUs

52. See 59-Down: SWORD

53. Shake awake: ROUSE

54. Change: ALTER

57. Brother of Cain: ABEL

58. Nittany Lions' sch.: PSU. (Pennsylvania State University)

59. It's mightier than the 52-Down, so they say: PEN

60. 4 x 4, for short: UTE. (utility vehicle)

61. Blvd.: AVE.. Streets.


Oct 30, 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017 ~ Jake Braun

Theme: Watch Your Back! - Target word added behind the second word of the starred entries.

17A. *Palestine, to many: HOLY LAND. Landfall.

28A. *Slam-dance area: MOSH PIT. Pitfall.

51A. *What "blows no good": ILL WIND. Windfall;.

66A. "Spring forward" partner (a reminder for November 5th) ... and what the last word of each answer to a starred clue can literally have: FALL BACK

11D. *Jam on the brakes: STOP SHORT. Shortfall.

35D. *Regular dinner-and-a-movie evening: DATE NIGHT. Nightfall.

Argyle here. I've got your back. This puzzle has no unique words; that's unique. Diagonal solver's delight.


1. Press (down), as pipe bowl ash : TAMP

5. Life-saving proc.: CPR. (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

8. Collect $200 in Monopoly: PASS GO

14. Top poker pair: ACEs

15. Feel remorse for: RUE

16. Brewpub fixture: ALE TAP

19. Soccer game shout: ¡OLE! ¡OLE!

20. St. plagued by wildfires in 2017: ORE. (Oregon) Just one of many.

21. Leaves out: OMITS

23. Colorado resort: ASPEN. 73-Across. Enjoys 23-Across: SKIs

24. Other side in a fight: ENEMY

26. Monterey County seat: SALINAS

30. Spontaneous notion: WHIM

33. Classic Ford: MODEL T

36. One of eight Eng. kings: EDW. (Edward)

37. Cola, e.g.: SODA

38. Actress Longoria: EVA

39. Vienna's country: Abbr.: AUS. (Austria)ISO code: AUT

41. Gobble up: EAT

43. Do sales work (for): REP. (representative)

44. Baseball glove: MITT. 46-Across. Baseball throw: PEG,. 40-Down. Former MLB commissioner Bud: SELIG

48. Multi-room accommodations: SUITES

50. Praiseful verses: ODEs

53. More geeky: NERDIER

55. V-shaped carving: NOTCH

59. Happy expression: SMILE

61. "Six __ a-laying ... ": GEESE

63. Yokohama yes: HAI

64. Descartes' "I think": COGITO. "Cogito ergo sum" is Latin for "I think; therefore, I am".

68. From boat to beach: ASHORE. (adverb)

69. Island strings: UKE. (ukulele)

70. Pre-deal wager: ANTE

71. Poker player, e.g.: BETTOR

72. '60s hallucinogen: LSD. (Lysergic acid diethylamide)


1. Nevada border lake: TAHOE

                          Tahoe Keys, who knew?

2. Bit of a squirrel's stash: ACORN. (@1:25)

3. Messy fight: MELEE

4. Future therapist's maj.: PSY. (Psychology)

5. Study at the last minute: CRAM

6. Say "You're grounded" to, say: PUNISH

7. Administrative complications: RED TAPE

8. Kung __ chicken: PAO

9. Edgar __ Poe: ALLAN

10. Up-and-down playground fixtures: SEESAWs. 22-Down. Playground fixture: SLIDE

12. More than a breeze: GALE

13. Ready for customers: OPEN

18. Common Jesuit school name: LOYOLA

25. Sra., on the Seine: MME. (Señora/Madame)

27. Formal "My bad": "IT WAS I"

29. Dumb: STUPID

31. Camille's concept: IDÉE

32. Route providers: MAPS

33. Note to the staff: MEMO

34. Exiled Roman poet: OVID

42. Way under a river: TUNNEL

45. "Cats" poet: TS ELIOT

47. Full of joy: GLEEFUL

49. About-to-be spouse's words: "I DO"

52. Inflicts, as havoc: WREAKS

54. Nostalgically trendy: RETRO

56. Say "Much obliged" to: THANK

57. Desert plants: CACTI

58. Walks with backpacks: HIKES

59. Picket line violator: SCAB

60. Jazzman Allison: MOSE. Died: November 15, 2016.

62. Word with bob or dog: SLED

65. Poetic "above": O'ER

67. Eng. majors' degrees: BAs. (Bachelor of Arts)


Oct 29, 2017

Sunday Oct 29, 2017 Bruce Haight

Theme:  "Urbanagrams"- Each theme entry is a major US city and its anagram.

23A. A few bars in the West? : SAN DIEGO SONG IDEA

37A. Ticketholder's entitlement in the Southwest? : SANTA FE FAN SEAT

51A. Stage handles in the West? : SACRAMENTO ACTOR NAMES

72A. Complex papers for a pad in the West? : LOS ANGELES LONG LEASES

86A. Do stuff in the Southeast? : RALEIGH HAIR GEL

102A. Heavyweights in the Midwest? : COLUMBUS SUMO CLUB

Puzzle titles don't always reveal the gimmick easily, but this one does, though it won't help your solving much.

You can probably anagram lots of other cities, but your entries have to have enough surface sense and humor value. Otherwise, you won't tickle Rich. You cities have to be big, not EDINA.

Though only 6 entries, they're all very long and occupy a total 100 theme squares. The grid is very Bruce. Very clean & lively. And you'll always see a few entries in his puzzles.

1. Choir voice : ALTO

5. Van Gogh setting : ARLES

10. They might be hatched : PLOTS. Three consecutive gimmes in a row.

15. Jazz trumpeter Jones : THAD. This got me last time.

19. Collectible fossil : SHARK TOOTH. We don't often see long non-themer in Across. How many teeth do you think a shark has?

21. Sound : AUDIO

22. Hamburger man : HERR

25. First name in household humor : ERMA

26. "Don't __" : ASK

27. Twinkle __: Skechers brand : TOES. Guessable. Cute.

28. The palm and olive of Palmolive : OILS

29. Reason to use litmus paper : PH TEST

31. Rubber? : MASSEUR. Nice clue.

33. iPad model : MINI. And 50. Apple since 1998 : iMAC. Also 66. Jobs in the tech industry : STEVE

34. Lumber mill fixtures : RIPSAWS. One of the flea market guys here is specialized in tools. His saws go quite quickly. He always yells at his customers.

36. Gallery works : ART

40. Helps plan a job, maybe : ABETS

43. Cry of exasperation : AARGH

44. Crushed, as a test : ACED

45. Priestly garment : ALB. Learned from doing crosswords.

46. Hot : SEXY

47. Puma competitor : AVIA

48. Place to get off: Abbr. : STA

49. Horse fathers : SIRES. Not "Horse feathers".

57. Wearer of a "Y" sweatshirt : ELI. Yale Bulldogs.

58. Feathered indoor flier : DART. I was picturing fruit flies.

59. Less contaminated : PURER

60. Nabokov novel : ADA

61. Pot cover : TEA COZY. Not on my tea pot.

63. Saturn's largest moon : TITAN

64. Media holder : DVD CASE. Four consonants in a row.

68. "I'm close to winning!" game cry : UNO

69. "__ what?": "What next?" : SO NOW

70. Capsizing deterrent : KEEL

71. Frat house "H" : ETA. We also have 15. Sorority letters : THETAs

77. First of 12 popes : PIUS I

78. Ref. updated quarterly : OED. I brought a Chinese-English dictionary when I came to the US. Have not needed it for ages. Google Translate solves all my problems.

79. Dress like, for the costume party : GO AS

80. "High-__!" : FIVE

81. Mtn. stat : ALT

82. Wee : ITTY

83. Matches a bet : CALLS

85. Social conventions : MORES. Not NORMS.

90. Old Prizm maker : GEO

91. Yoga move named for a pet : CAT POSE

92. Trading post wares : FURS

93. Colonist : SETTLER
97. Summer line : IT'S HOT. We just had our first snow.

98. Extended rental? : LIMO. Another great clue.

99. Fancy cracker spread : PATE. Try the spread on Aldi's crackers.

100. Flurry : ADO

101. Actress Moreno : RITA

107. Eclipse, maybe : OMEN

108. Aardwolf relative : HYENA. Hey, are you guys relatives?

109. Daytona 500, e.g. : NASCAR RACE. Another debut.

110. Give up : CEDE

111. Test for purity : ASSAY
112. Lavished attention (on) : DOTED

113. Wasn't square with : OWED
1. Indian state bordering Bangladesh : ASSAM

2. Two-mile-high capital : LHASA. In China, we spell it La Sa. You can see the Chinese characters here. Both Shanghai and Lhasa are two-word names in Chinese.

3. Loses on purpose : TANKS

4. Chicago airport code : ORD

5. Dined at a restaurant, say : ATE OUT. In Las Vegas, many places have soy sauce on the table. Makes me so happy. My favorite.

6. "Copy that" : ROGER

7. Heads of Parliament? : LOOS

8. Sci-fi staples : ETs

9. Driving away : SHOOING

10. "Without a Trace" actor Anthony La__ : PAGLIA. His face is familiar, not the name.

11. Wilder's "The Bridge of San __ Rey" : LUIS

12. Unmatched : ODD

13. Make, as a knot : TIE

14. S.O.S, for one : SOAP PAD. I love those S.O.S. pads. They work miracles.

16. "This is our stop" : HERE WE ARE

17. Weaponry transfers : ARMS SALES. Sparkly pairs of 9's. 

18. "Darn it!" : DRAT

20. Writers of bad checks : KITERS

24. Inning often not finished : NINTH. Bottom of the ninth.

30. QVC competitor : HSN
32. Mythical forest flutist : SATYR

33. Corday victim : MARAT. This was covered in our world history book also.

34. Parish head : RECTOR

35. Lead-in to bad news : I FEAR

37. Epitome of virtue : SAINT

38. Buckle or button : FASTEN. Also 56. Fleshy "buttons" : NAVELS

39. NCAA Final Four broadcaster : TBS

40. Selling point : ASSET

41. Bluesy Memphis street : BEALE

42. No longer working for The Company : EX-CIA. Notice the capitalized "The".

43. Animator Tex : AVERY
47. Online retail giant : AMAZON. I've never shopped at Walmart website. You? Their model is quite similar to Amazon's.

49. Seat at the racetrack : SADDLE

52. God, in Hebrew : ADONAI

53. Sound off : OPINE

54. Rush hour glut : AUTOS. Followed by 55. Rush hour pace : CRAWL
62. Talk a blue streak? : CUSS

63. "Ha! I was right!" : TOLD YA

64. Painter of ballerinas : DEGAS
65. Norse pantheon : AESIR. They live in Asgard.

67. Soothes : EASES

69. Boil : SEETHE

70. Round mound : KNOLL. The only one I know is that Grassy Knoll.

72. 1928 Gary Cooper romance in which a bouquet plays a vital role : LILAC TIME. Unfamiliar to me.

73. Went longer than : OUTLASTED

74. Invaders of ancient Rome : GOTHS

75. More than checks out : OGLES

76. In progress : AFOOT. And 84. Beached : AGROUND. Both solid A-words.

77. What one never is on a golf course : PAR. I was thinking you can have 1 on a par 3 or par 4 hole, if you're really lucky/good. But 1 is never a par.

82. Prankster's cry : I GOTCHA

83. Only speck of food the Grinch left in each Who's house : CRUMB

85. Shower component : METEOR. Meteor shower.

87. Flammable gas : ETHANE

88. NYSE news : IPO

89. "Let me just interject ... " : IF I MAY

90. Blow a gasket : GET MAD

93. Hooch : SAUCE

94. Old NBC legal drama : LA LAW. Also 96. Covered in court : ROBED

95. Draw forth : EDUCE

97. __-Z: classic Camaro : IROC

98. Moon goddess : LUNA. Chinese Moon goddess is Chang'e, who lives in the moon. That's why we eat mooncakes during Mid-Autumn Festival.

99. Vocal nudge : PSST

103. Yiddish laments : OYs
104. French article : LES

105. __ Paulo : SAO

106. HUN neighbor, to the IOC : CRO (Croatia)


Crosswords LA 2017 puzzle pack is now on sale. Click here. Only $5. The proceeds go to Reading to Kids. Alex Boisvert is the puzzle wrangler/editor this year. See here for the first-ever all-women constructor team.

Oct 28, 2017

Saturday, Oct 28th, 2017, Daniel Nierenberg

Theme: None

Words: 72 (missing Q,X)

Blocks: 29

This puzzle gave me a mental wedgie.  It didn't help that I massacred two sections with constant overwrites - had I done this one in pencil, there'd be no paper left.  I thought I had enough to solve this one, but most of the clues just didn't give me anything to work with, and then some of the answers didn't look right anyway - I'm looking at you, 17a & 45d.~!!  Caved in to red-letters.  No exceptionally long answers, and that might have contributed; just triple 9's in the across, and triple 8's in the down;

17. Florida beach ranked by TripAdvisor as #1 in the U.S. in 2017 : SIESTA KEY - Argh~!! siestakey~? Had I parsed this properly, it might have made sense - but the furthest south I have ever been is Jacksonville, FL, and "key" never occurred to me

14. Construction protection : HARD HATS - clever plural misdirection

60. Insect world raiders : AMAZON ANT - ah, the wonders of nature - the Wiki

34. Curse deterrent : SWEAR JAR - if I had one for this puzzle, I could have bought my own vineyard; here's a picture of the vines surrounding the owner's house - see below, too

Rainy Day



1. Takes a risky leap : BASE JUMPS - I got the JUMPS part, but 'HIGH' was all that came to mind

10. Teensy bit : SKOSH - learned from doing crosswords

15. Baked fruit dessert : APPLE TART

16. Actress Campbell of "Martin" : TISHA

18. Furry fish eater : OTTER - seemed to simple, so I waited

19. Drink with a polar bear mascot : ICEE - dah~!  Not COKE - this ad mascot

20. Mag wheel? : HEF  - R.I.P.

21. Let loose : UNTIED

22. Dishonorable sort : CAD - Dah~!  Not CUR - the NW corner was the first disaster area

23. Without breaks, as a tennis set : ON SERVE - in desperation, I tried "ONE-LOVE", and the "O" and "N" remained after I switched to red-letters.  That helped.

25. Degree of uncertainty : NTH - again, I hesitated

26. One hanging around in the forest? : SLOTH

28. Eurasia's __ region : URAL - I had aRAL, which made it almost impossible to make sense of 7d.

29. Cantina snack : TAPA - ugh.  Not TACO

30. Tombstone shootout participant : EARP - Yay~!  I got one~!

32. Natural home : HABITAT

34. Domino's competitor : SBARRO - knowing this was a huge help in the SW

37. Fruits often cubed : MELONS

38. Hopeful : WANNABE

40. Acted like : APED - I think this is better than the "Did" clue we had about two weeks ago

41. Lighting hrs.? : ETAs - think "a"-lighting, as in landing

42. Eye care brand : ReNu

44. City on the Shatt al-Arab river : BASRA - filled via perps

48. Hawaiian yellowfin : AHI - a good WAG, since it could have occurred at 39d., too

49. String around the collar? : BOLO TIE - I so wanted NAME TAG here

51. Harley Davidson's NYSE symbol : HOG - knew it

52. Prayer string : ROSARY

54. British society page VIP : NOB - I tried FOP; this was the start of my "four corners from hell" - I was missing the "N" and "B" and those choices were not at the top of my list; "M" and "Z" from 60a. were the other pair in the across clue

55. Tiny particle : MOTE - Rrrr - not ATOM

56. Interim ruling group : JUNTA

57. Entertainment for the whole gang : FAMILY FUN

59. Many a Pacific resident : ASIAN

61. Tears : RENDS - tEErs or tArEs~? I can never tell in a blank grid

62. Ceremony with a Best Female Hip-Hop Artist category : BET AWARDS


1. First things to learn : BASICS - "THE ABCS" didn't fit

2. Forming a summit : APICAL - new word for me

3. Tight-fitting suit : SPEEDO - ah, that kind of suit. I'm an equal opportunity sexist....

take that you misblogynist~!

4. If-then-__: programmer's flow : ELSE

5. Fast flier : JET - not SST

6. Roseanne Barr, for one : UTAHN - F%$#ing not COMIC

7. Partner of kisses : MAKES UP - HUGS didn't fit; then I wondered what went with Hershey's Kisses; the phrase "kisses and makes up" did not cross my mind

8. Choose over, with "to" : PREFER

9. Farm dwelling : STY

10. It may be skipped : STONE

11. Talking Trans Am of classic TV : KITT - Knight Industries Two-Thousand - the Wiki

New movie in 2018~?  I think I've seen that clip before....

12. Repeated melodic pattern : OSTINATO - filled via perps

13. Bit of bakeware : SHEET PAN

21. Tanning aid, for short : UV LAMP

23. "Ten North Frederick" author John : O'HARA - again, perps

24. Motivational speech component? : "RAH~!"

27. Beach birds : TERNS

29. "Michael Clayton" Oscar winner Swinton : TILDA

31. Whisky cocktail garnished with skewered cherries : ROB ROY - whiskey~?  I'm into "merlot" these days.  Here's another pic of the vineyards, taken from the second floor of the owner's house (which I have access to, since I upkeep that place as well)

33. Early bathysphere user William : BEEBE - vague

35. Safe haven for cave dwellers? : BAT HOUSE

36. "Delta of Venus" author : ANAIS NIN

39. Sushi fish : EEL

40. Early fast-food eatery : AUTOMAT

43. Unpopular sort : NO NAME - this clue/answer was unpopular with me; the missing "N" and "M" from the Across clues

45. Instrument made from a ram's horn : SHOFAR - can you tell I'm not Jewish~?  The Wiki

46. Stout : ROTUND

47. Spies : AGENTS

49. Fiber-rich cereals : BRANS - spellcheck doesn't like the plural

50. Spanish vacation island : IBIZA - and the final "B" and "Z"

53. Minimally : A TAD

55. Avian motormouth : MYNA

57. Swell : FAB

58. Like a carefully kept profile : LOW - reminds me of George Clooney's line from this scene in Dusk Til Dawn - caution~! - strong language.  I am going to find me a '68 Cougar just like theirs and restore it some day

I once had a '69

Oct 27, 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017, Andy Kravis and Erik Agard

Title: It all fits, but where is the Z?

What a nice treat as we get a collaboration between two of the millennial constructors, both of whom had their debuts here at the LAT. They along with many others have changed the landscape of puzzle publication by publishing their own work. Meet them LINK Andy; LINK Eric.

Back to this effort which, like last week, uses 'insert three letters' to make a new phrase. A very fair puzzle which may have a couple of curve balls, but it is Friday. They also introduce us to some new fill -AIDS WALK, MOON GODS, CORE ASSETS and WHAT CAN I DO. It is the aforementioned Z away from being a pangram. Guys, really?

19A. Watch a music-streaming app? : SEE SPOTIFY RUN (13). If you do not know Spotify you were born before 1970. You still might remember learning from seeing Spot run.

26A. Organize circus performers? : CLASSIFY CLOWNS (13). I wonder if either of these young men were class clowns?

46A. Rationalize one's need for duel assistance? : JUSTIFY A SECOND (14). Sly, the duelists need a second, why may take longer than just a second.

53A. Worship at the altar of buttercream? : DEIFY FROSTING (13). The outlier - Defrosting is one word, Also, Buttercream is not worth worship


1. Apples on a desk: iMacs. One office where I work uses lots of the 27" model.

6. Unattached: STAG.

10. Ruler meas. : CMS. Centimeters.

13. Two-sport Sanders: DEION. Neon Deion, Primetime is a Florida born product of FSU. During his most productive year in the majors, the 1992 season, he hit .304 for the team, stole 26 bases, and led the NL with 14 triples in 97 games. During the 1989 season, he hit a major league home run and scored a touchdown in the NFL in the same week, the only player ever to do so. Sanders is also the only man to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series.

14. Texas city: WACO. Home to Chip and Joanna Gaines.

15. Leave work: QUIT.

16. Braugher of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine": ANDRE. From serious police procedural TV - Homicide: Life on the Street - to deadpan comic, but still in the SQUAD ROOM.

17. Maker of Swift laptops: ACER.

18. Waiter at a stand: TAXI. Nice deception.

22. Garden State city: NEWARK. Ironic isn't it.

24. "__ be the judge of that": I'LL.

25. Make the call: OPT. In or out.

30. Afflicts: AILS.

31. Where Spike Lee earned his MFA: NYU.

32. Louisville Slugger wood: ASH. Ash is back for the second week in a row. Louisville sluggers were all we had playing baseball as kids.

33. Answered counterpart: ASKED. AAA.

35. Little devil: IMP. Tyrion started out as the Imp.

37. Brazilian music genre: SAMBA.

41. Up to, for short: TIL.

43. Blanc with "That's all folks" on his gravestone: MEL.

45. Punch or file: TOOL. Meh.

50. Actress Aniston, in tabloids: JEN. Have not had a gratuitous female form in a while.

51. Afternoon social: TEA.

52. "Mean Girls" actress Seyfried: AMANDA. Buy the magazine.

57. Declare openly: AVOW. Aver, avow, aver.

58. Streaming on Facebook: LIVE. We have friends who actually do this.

59. Tantalus' daughter: NIOBE. Moral: do not try and show up gods. LINK.

62. Manage: TEND.

63. Over: ANEW. Got me, anyone?

64. Further out there: ODDER.

65. Start of something? : ESS.

66. Gets some sun: TANS.

67. Sparkling wine choices: ROSES. The magic ending ess.


1. Mont. neighbor: IDA. Hey girl, weather better?

2. "White __ Can't Jump": MEN.

3. Charity fundraiser since 1985: AIDS WALK.  Florida VERSION.

4. Vital business holdings: CORE ASSETS.

5. Villainous visages: SNEERS. I do love alliteration.

6. Exchange: SWAP.

7. Folded Mexican fare: TACO.

8. Vinegary, as acid: ACETIC. Didn't Moe explain about wine and acid?

9. Brute: GORILLA.

10. Oscar-winning "Gravity" director Alfonso: CUARON. LINK.

11. Mistakes: MIXUPS.

12. Stretch on the job: STINT.

15. Invoice abbr. : QTY.

20. Parchment source: SKIN. Not necessarily human.

21. Dental visit freebie: FLOSS.

22. Org. that fills bowls? : NCAA. More wit.

23. Bulldog fans: ELIS.

27. "Just an update" letters: FYI. Another version of the IFY inserted.

28. Delish: YUMMY.

29. "Need my help?" : WHAT CAN I DO.

34. Catchy tune: DITTY.

36. Edible orb: PEA.

38. Selene and Luna: MOON GODS. Greek and Roman - the same goddess. LINK.

39. No foe: BOND. Dr. No, nice clue.

40. Only actor to appear in every episode of "M*A*S*H": ALDA. I really enjoyed him in Blacklist.

42. Become prostrate: LIE FLAT.

44. Future atty.'s exam: LSAT.

46. Valet in Wodehouse stories: JEEVES.

47. Labor parties? : UNIONS.

48. Oatmeal alternative: FARINA.

49. Key of Dvorák's New World Symphony: E MINOR.

50. Singles network logo with a partly outlined Star of David: JDATE. Do they still use this?

54. Chain email abbr. : FWD.

55. It may be self-cleaning: OVEN.

56. Works with threads: SEWS.

60. Pollen carrier: BEE.

61. Hectic hosp. zones: ERS.

Thanks for the help all see later. Thank you gentleman for a fun puzzle. Lemonade out.

Oct 26, 2017

Thursday, October 26 2017 Mark McClain

Theme: FAN-tastic. Four FAN definitions, four different results. Three nouns-based, one verb-based.

17A. FAN : RANGE HOOD DEVICE. Really? OK. My range hood doubles as a microwave, so I've got two devices in one, I guess. I treated myself to a new range last week, the old one went kaput in the oven-ignition department. I'm not fond of the smell of gas in my kitchen.

26A. FAN : GEISHA ACCESSORY. Can be very ornate.

43A. FAN : GO DOWN ON STRIKES. It took me forever to parse this. Baseball - you fan the batter when you have him swinging and missing at for strike three. World Series time is on us! I won't claim to being an ardent supporter of my LA Dodgers. I am a fan, though.

56A. FAN : ARDENT SUPPORTER. Now, that's me! Chelsea F.C. When I'm back in London next month I'll be at the ground being ardent. I still renew my annual club membership each year even though I get to one game every goodness knows when.

Four grid-spanners is always a nice construction job - things can get tricky making this kind of pattern work. I thought we were onto a pangram when X, Z, J, K and the other usual suspects started showing up, but no Q, so close, but no cigar.

Lots of nice fill to go with the solid 60 (count 'em!) theme letters. Let's see:


1. "The Hobbit" figure : DWARF. Makes a nice change from ents, orcs and what-not. There were 13 of the vertically-challenged, pugnaciously-bearded bunch in The Hobbit

6. Moneyless deal : SWAP

10. It may involve an exchange of letters : CODE. Also known as a substitution cipher - you change one letter for another.

14. Like a raucous crowd : AROAR. Your honor, I refer to my previous blog entries on this particular word.

15. Grassy "pet" : CHIA

16. Binged (on) : OD'ED

20. Donkey Kong, e.g. : APE. I'm old enough to remember the first Donkey Kong machine in my local pub in London. I'm also old enough to remember the first Pong machine, and the first Space Invaders machine. I retired after Missile Command and saved my money.

21. Tiny bit : IOTA

22. Gas in an arc lamp : XENON

23. Cultural opening? : AGRI-

24. Working away : AT IT

33. Dark : UNLIT

34. Holy Week season : LENT.

35. Menagerie : ZOO

36. Organa family royal : LEIA. I don't know why I have a problem with this "Organa" family clue. I know I know it's Star Wars, but why was I playing around with LENA and LEDA as possibilities?

37. Outback youngsters : JOEYS. Sing after me the Australian kids' show theme tune: "Skippy, Skippy, Skippy the bush kangaroo". The show came on right after "The Magic Boomerang" on the BBC. I'm guessing cheaply-acquired programming.

39. Cover up : MASK. Verb and noun. Nice.

40. Is for many : ARE. Singular/Plural hint.

41. Trombone's symphonic neighbor : TUBA. Twinned with the 38D clue/answer. Nice.

42. First two-time Nobelist : CURIE

47. False move : FAKE. Sporting term - faking someone out.

48. Try in court : HEAR

49. "Star Wars" genre : SCI-FI

52. Contrary girl of rhyme : MARY. How did her garden grow?

53. Relaxation spot : SPA

60. Oblique look : LEER

61. Lowland : VALE. I wait - DALE or VALE?

62. Din : NOISE

63. Bigelow products : TEAS

64. Cut without mercy, as a budget : AXED

65. Maker of iComfort mattresses : SERTA. I'm surprised lawsuit-happy Apple haven't sued over the name.


1. Swimmer Torres with 12 Olympic medals : DARA. She's a motiviational speaker now and lives up the street (actually, up quite a few streets) in Beverly Hills.

2. Sub alternative : WRAP

3. As good as it gets : A-ONE

4. Joplin work : RAG

5. Train load : FREIGHT

6. Nova __ : SCOTIA

7. "Just a doggone minute!" : WHOA

8. Legal __ : AID

9. Legal __ : PAD

10. Longs for enviously : COVETS

11. Mr. Wednesday's real identity in "American Gods" : ODIN

12. Artistic style of L.A.'s Eastern Columbia Building : DECO.  A beautiful loft building downtown. Here's the entryway:

13. Churchill's 1955 successor : EDEN

18. Hand-holding celebratory dance : HORA

19. Be real : EXIST

23. Where Vladivostok is : ASIA

24. __-deucey : ACEY

25. Arithmetic column : TENS. Please complete the following as your homework. It's due back to me tomorrow.

26. Solzhenitsyn subject : GULAG. I read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" when I was a teen. Quite the eye-opener.

27. Día de Reyes month : ENERO. Nailed it! January, the twelfth day of Christmas in Spanish-speaking countries.

28. "That wasn't quite true ... " : I LIED

29. Do housework : CLEAN

30. Netflix drama set in a Missouri mountain resort : OZARK. Never seen the drama, but easy to guess.

31. WWII riveter : ROSIE

32. Devices used with oxcarts : YOKES. As one ox said to the other: "This plow is heavy. No yoke".

37. Rubbish : JUNK

38. Flute's symphonic neighbor : OBOE. I like the pair of orchestral maneuvers today. Let's use that as an excuse for some 80's pop. And some hilarity with the video production standards of the day.

39. Sierra Club founder : MUIR

41. With "the," East and West, in a Kipling ballad : TWAIN

OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!

From "The Ballad of East and West" by Rudyard Kipling

I've got a beaten-up old copy of Kipling's "Barrack Room Ballads" that belonged to my Dad and which followed him around his pre-war British Army postings to Hong Kong and Palestine and his WWII assignments in North Africa and Burma. No wonder it's a little rough around the edges.

42. Colorful set : CRAYONS

44. They're music to job-seekers' ears : OFFERS

45. Molded : SHAPED

46. Maryland athlete, familiarly : TERP

49. Cellar contents : SALT. Wanted WINE. A recent addition to my pantry is a Himalaya black salt that smells sulfurous. It's used to finish a couple of Indian curries that I'm fond of. Not to everyone's taste.

50. First Nations tribe : CREE

51. Thought : IDEA

52. Backless shoe : MULE. I tried MOCC first, a bad decision on more than one front.

53. Start to wake up : STIR

54. Sitter's challenge : PEST

55. Geometry figure : AREA

57. Power agcy. since 1933 : T.V.A.

58. Jazz band staple : SAX

59. Landmark '70s case anonym : ROE vs. Wade.

That's about it from me.


Oct 25, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke


Gail and Bruce have produced another Wednesday winner with this entertaining puzzle employing a food theme shown in the reveal which is in the Down clues whereas the theme answers are in the Across batch:


43. "Dinner!" ... and a hint to the first word of 21-, 27-, 44- and 53-Across : LET'S EAT - Shown here in an amusing version of grace

First of all let's see the hands of those who wish this had been a Thursday puzzle so our resident gourmand Steve could have waxed gastronomically! One, two, three... Let's see counting me that's everybody! 

C'est la vie, you will have to make do with the "meat and taters" guy from the great plains - Husker Gary, who also did C.C.'s EAT UP titled puzzle from Sunday, October 15. 

Here are Gail and Bruce's themers where each has a first word denoting what you might find on your plate and an entire phrase starting with that word:

21. Finishing a sentence? : SERVING TIME - A single portion at a meal or OJ being dismissed from a Nevada prison at midnight to avoid publicity after nine years of SERVING TIME for trying to recover some memorabilia at gun point but not for...

27. Diagram on a golf score card : COURSE LAYOUT - One of the parts of a meal or the perhaps the most beautiful COURSE LAYOUT anywhere with hole #7 shown at the top of the poster and  jutting out into the ocean in the bottom middle of the map

44. Bad news for subway riders : FARE INCREASE - What might be available on a menu or what some of us remember when the Kingston Trio exhorted us to "fight the FARE INCREASE, Vote for George O'Brien, Get poor Charlie off the MTA!"

53. Grammatically, "have" in "I have spoken," e.g. : HELPING VERB - How much you are served or a non-intimidating example of the sample sentence

Let's get some HELPINGS of the FARE Gail and Bruce have for us in the COURSE of this puzzle that is SERVING our gaming appetites and HELPING getting our midweek off to a great start: 


1. Bunches of bucks : WADS - She is WADDING up her caught cash in an interesting place

5. Strip of latticework : LATH

9. Expels : OUSTS

14. For each one : A POP - A dollar A POP for a serving of corn is a "bucaneer"

15. Jackson 5 hair style : AFRO

16. IV part : INTRA - What my INTRAVENOUS remicade routine looks like every eight weeks

17. Stacy Lewis' org. : LPGA - My mental WNBA/LPGA coin flip was wrong first 

18. Severely harm : MAIM

19. Use, as for a snooze : LIE ON - This is how I remember

20. "Well, __-di-dah!" : LAH - Close enough and extremely funny

23. In the air : ALOFT - Airplanes ALOFT in early morning of 9/11/2001. The skies were empty in a matter of hours.

25. Ancient Peruvian : INCA

26. "Fresh Air" airer : NPR

31. Attachment to a movable sprinkler : HOSE - How about getting water from a HOSE and becoming a moving human sprinkler

32. Divinity school subj. : REL

33. John Irving title writer : GARP - The character GARP becomes a writer in Iriving's Oscar Award Winning Screenplay The World According To GARP

36. Romantically involved with : SEEING

38. Oscar Mayer product : WIENER - I wish I were...

40. "And she shall bring forth __": Matthew : A SON - That season is getting close in all the stores since we are nearing Halloween.

41. Bordeaux brushoff : NON - A note in a French middle school - Pensez-vous comme moi ? Oui/NON (Do you like me? Yes/No)

42. Co. known for music compilations : KTEL - They "hooked" me. Ya gotta love Beethoven to a disco beat!

48. VW preceders? : STU - Cool clue! ...m n o p q r S T U V W x y z and

57. Letters between mus and xis : NUS - There is Nu between Mu and Xi

51. Fabric mishap : TEAR

52. Grecian urn glorifier, e.g. : ODIST - Yeah, I'm the only one who had to erase KEATS!

58. Ball co-star : ARNAZ - And cheating husband

59. Revered Tibetan : LAMA

60. Paltry : MERE

61. Author Kafka or composer Liszt : FRANZ

62. City west of Tulsa : ENID - The Enid Storm Shelter company sells these

63. Neck of the woods : AREA - In this AREA, Husker fans who were used to quality football are getting 64. Short-tempered : TESTY

65. College Board exams, for short : SATS

66. Wordless summons : PSST - PSST, wanna buy a Rolex...


1. Character actor Eli who often co-starred with his wife Anne Jackson : WALLACH

2. Horse with a spotted coat : APPALOOSA - This beautiful one was, uh, spotted in New Zealand

3. Backyard pet shelters : DOGHOUSES - They make a husband version

4. Massage venue : SPA

5. Unconvincing, as excuses go : LAME

6. A long way off : AFAR

7. Barely worth mentioning : TRIVIAL - The eighth most sold board game of all time. It rans  between Othello and Pictionary. BTW, Chess was number one.

8. Grits, essentially : HOMINY

9. Dashboard indicator : OIL GAUGE

10. Textbook division : UNIT

11. Oktoberfest keepsake : STEIN

12. Beat the pants off : TROMP - _____ U. was TROMPED by ____ U. Nebraska used to be the object of the preposition and not the subject of that sentence.

13. More reasonable : SANER

21. GPS lines : STS - Here are some STreetS of 49. __ Haute : TERRE -  TERRE Haute, Indiana on the banks of the Wabash

22. Cpl., for one : NCO - As in Cpl. Maxwell Q. Klinger

24. No longer encumbered by : FREE OF 

28. South end? : ERN - The southERN most major street in this 60. 27-Across, essentially : MAP is Washington Street 

29. Journey segment : LEG

30. Did terribly : TANKED

34. Orthodontic devices : RETAINERS - I have had many very expensive RETAINERS lost by students on my many trips to Florida

35. Lays a guilt trip on, say : PRESSURES - Part and parcel of some family events 

37. Nervously distracted : IN A TIZZY - Where guilt trips can put you 

38. Took the title : WON

39. Business abbr. : INC

41. State of bliss : NIRVANA

45. Stimpy's sidekick : REN - Am I missing anything by not having seen this 'toon pair?

46. NFC East team : EAGLES - The EAGLES at the only school where I sub these days

47. Take the wrong way? : ROB

48. Unfair treatment, with "the" : SHAFT - She got the elevator and I got the SHAFT

50. Forearm bones : ULNAS - TESTY eliminated ULNAE

54. Breathe hard : PANT

55. Give off : EMIT

56. X-ray units : RADS - Originally defined in terms of our crossword buddy ERGS

The Grid:

Now, how 'bout a healthy portion of your wit and wisdom: